If you’ve encountered the “SignTool Error: No Certificates Were Found That Met All the Given Criteria” message, don’t worry, you’re not alone. This error can be a roadblock when you’re trying to sign your software. In this guide, we’ll walk you through what this error means, why it happens, and how to resolve it.

Understanding the SignTool Error

Before diving into the solutions, let’s understand why this error occurs. When you use SignTool.exe to sign your code, it requires a valid certificate. This certificate serves as proof that your code is legitimate and hasn’t been tampered with. The error message indicates that SignTool.exe couldn’t find a certificate that meets its criteria.

Common Reasons for the Error and how to fix?

The SignTool error message, “No Certificates Were Found,” typically occurs when SignTool.exe cannot locate a valid code signing certificate for the signing operation. This error can have several common reasons:

Certificate Not Installed:

The code signing certificate required for the operation might not be installed on your system.

Solution: Ensure that you have a valid code signing certificate installed on your system. You can install certificates via the Windows Certificate Manager (certmgr.msc) or through your development environment’s certificate management tools.

Incorrect Certificate Store:

SignTool may not be looking in the correct certificate store for the code signing certificate.

Solution: Specify the correct certificate store using the /s parameter when running SignTool. For example: /s MY for the Personal certificate store.

Missing Private Key:

The certificate you are trying to use for code signing might be missing its private key, which is required for signing.

Solution: Ensure that the certificate you have installed has its private key associated with it. If not, you may need to re-import the certificate with its private key.

Incorrect Certificate Selection:

SignTool may not be selecting the right certificate from the certificate store.

Solution: Use the /sha1 or /sha256 parameter to specify the thumbprint of the certificate you want to use for signing. For example: /sha1 YourCertificateThumbprint.

Incorrect User Context:

SignTool might not have access to the user’s certificate store when run under certain user contexts.

Solution: Run SignTool under an account that has access to the certificate store. This is particularly important when dealing with user-specific certificates.

Expired Certificate:

If the code signing certificate has expired, SignTool will not use it.

Solution: Renew or obtain a new code signing certificate with a valid expiration date.

Incorrect Certificate

File: If you are using a certificate file (PFX) with SignTool, ensure that you have provided the correct path and password for the file.

Solution: Double-check the file path and password used with the /f and /p parameters.

Certificate Revocation:

SignTool may not work if the certificate has been revoked by the Certificate Authority (CA).

Solution: Check the certificate’s status with the CA. If it has been revoked, you may need to obtain a new certificate.

Multiple Certificates:

If you have multiple certificates installed that match the criteria, SignTool may not know which one to use.

Solution: Specify the exact certificate to use using the /sha1 or /sha256 parameter to provide the thumbprint.


Insufficient permissions may prevent SignTool from accessing certificates.

Solution: Ensure that the account running SignTool has the necessary permissions to access the certificate store and the certificate file (if using a PFX).

Certificate Store Location:

If the certificate store location is different from the default (e.g., a custom certificate store location), SignTool may not find the certificate.

Solution: Specify the correct certificate store location using the /sm parameter.

Wrong Store Name:

SignTool may not find certificates if you specify an incorrect store name.

Solution: Make sure you specify the correct store name using the /s parameter, such as MY for the Personal store.


The “SignTool Error: No Certificates Were Found That Met All the Given Criteria” error is a common hurdle in the code-signing process. However, with the steps outlined in this guide, you can troubleshoot and resolve it. Ensuring that your code is signed with a valid certificate is crucial for security and trustworthiness. By following these solutions, you’ll be back on track to signing your code successfully and maintaining the integrity of your software.

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